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Background: My Spouse and I met when our oldest granddaughter (aka ElderGrand) was 5 (she's now 14), and her little sister (aka GirlChild) was born 4 years ago.
We have raised ElderGrand off and on, and it's likely that she'll move back here again. She was here all summer, now is moving home to start high school, which is a recipe for failure but we can't stop her and need to allow her to have some choice in that and come to us on her own terms -- but that's actually a whole different story.
GirlChild moved here 2/09. Their mom... has issues. We finally got her to agree to allow us to file for legal guardianship. Long story about why that was never possible before now as well.
But that's all backstory. What is just crushing me now is, what is the best way to handle GirlChild's growing awareness, and growing sorrow, that she can't stay with her Mommy? We know that at some level she knows that Here is better than There -- here she gets sleep, food, stability, clean air to breath, and people who love all over her instead of making her ar too low of a priority in their lives. But we also know that nothing will ever replace her Mommy.
She went last night to spend the night with her mom, and today (overtired, anxious and hungry) when we picked her up, she was depondant. When Spouse got home with her, she scooted into my arms, still crying her eyes out (after a short break for much needed sleep). With all the sorrow of the world resting on her tiny shoulders, she said, "I want to live with Mommy! I don't want to be here!"
I was able to get her calmed down, fed, cleaned up, and finally in bed with giggles and kisses and hugs.
But how do you deal with that? How do you deal with it from their perspective -- how do you get a 4yo to understand, without trashing her mother, that her mom just doesn't want to raise her? And how do you deal with it from your own perspective, from knowing that you're doing all the work and yet all they want is someone who can't/won't provide for them and really doesn't even want them (or at least wants a lot of destructive things a whole lot more than they want their own child)?
We have talked about starting her in some play therapy. We're hesitant, because overall she seems happy and adjusted here.
I could just use all the support I can get on this. If anyone knows of other forums/online communities for grandparents raising grandchildren, I'd appreciate the referal to those as well.